It’s a sign of the times — SOLD!

Local real estate market bouncing back with 10 percent jump in 2011

Sold signs increased 10 percent in 2011 for the local real estate market, including this house in Cortez that sold in December. Enlargephoto

Journal/Sam Green

Sold signs increased 10 percent in 2011 for the local real estate market, including this house in Cortez that sold in December.

Montezuma County Realtors held an open house for economic growth last year with residential property sales that busted through the roof.

The number of residential properties sold in the county increased 10 percent during 2011, from 190 to 209 “SOLD” signs.

A recently released 2011 sales report from the Four Corners Board of Realtors shows local real estate salespeople are climbing out of the economic slump that has plagued housing markets in much of the United States.

Terry McCabe, an associate broker with Century 21 who compiled the 2011 sales report, said the numbers provide a good indicator for economic growth in Montezuma County.

“It is significant,” McCabe said about the increased home sales. “In years past we’ve been down — the last couple of years. So this is good we’ve shown an increase. There’s nothing more local than real estate (as an economic indicator).”

Montezuma County’s real estate market goes up and down, dipping into valleys when economic times are tough and climbing up hills when the economy improves, said McCabe, who also serves on the local Realtors association’s board of directors.

“We’ve had a lot of foreclosures and a lot of economic things going on in the county,” she said. “I think this is a good indicator that we’re on our way back.”

2011 residential real estate sales for the county totaled $41.5 million, an 18 percent increase over 2010’s volume of $35.1 million.

The average sale price for a residential property climbed 8 percent, from $184,565 in 2010 to $198,511 in 2011.

“It’s good. … In the years past we’ve seen a decline; the asking prices have dropped,” McCabe said about sale prices. “In 2010, for example, the prices started going down.”

Sales of rural, residential properties that include acreage can raise the average sale price for a Montezuma County home, McCabe said, explaining why the average sale price is almost $200,000.

“When you look at this, you’re looking at some property in the county that has land. … I would say that median sale is more typical of what the average family can afford.”

The median sale price for a home in Montezuma County remained stable from 2010 to 2011 — right at $160,000.

Comparably, the median price for a single-family unit in Colorado during 2011 was $196,667, according to the Colorado Association of Realtors. That’s a 2 percent decrease from the $200,729 median value for Colorado in 2010.

Statewide, the number of single-family units sold increased 3 percent, from 56,254 in 2010 to 57,730 in 2011, according to the state Realtors group.

The median sale price for a Telluride home during 2011, at more than $1.6 million, was twice as high as any other place in Colorado, according to the state Realtors group. Aspen came in second highest, at $810,000. Logan posted the lowest median sale price, $77,500. Durango came in at $316,667, behind only Telluride, Aspen, and Boulder’s $361,978 sale price for Colorado’s highest, median, single-family unit cost.

The Colorado Association of Realtors report lists 24 areas in the Centennial State and does not include some places, such as Vail, with traditionally high home sale values.

Residential property sales were spread fairly evenly throughout the county last year, McCabe said. They didn’t spike in just one area such as in-town or rural.

Changes in lending regulations for manufactured homes made site-built, stick-and-brick homes more appealing, McCabe said. Additionally, increased costs for building materials used in new construction shifted sales toward existing homes.

Although potential homebuyers need a good credit history and have to jump through some hoops to acquire a loan, interest rates hovering around 3.75 percent give buyers a lot of bang for their buck, McCabe said.

The 2011 real estate report for Montezuma County also has categories for Commercial, Land, Multifamily, and Farm and Ranch.

Commercial property tallies decreased from 14 sales totaling $3.7 million in 2010 to five sales totaling $1 million in 2011.

“It’s down — mostly, again, because of lending regulations,” McCabe said about the commercial market. “It’s harder now to get a commercial loan to start a small business.”

The number of land sales dropped from 39 in 2010 to 33 in 2011, but the value of land sold increased from $5.1 million in 2010 to $5.4 million last year.

Multifamily home sales increased from zero in 2010 to two properties totaling $425,000 in 2011.

Farm and Ranch sales also rose, from zero in 2010 to five totaling $2.1 million in 2011.

The total for all classes combined was 254 sales in 2011, a 5 percent increase over the 243 properties sold in Montezuma County during 2010. The total dollar volume sold during 2011 was $50.4 million, a 15 percent increase over the $43.9 million sold during 2010.

For more information, see the full report at the Four Corners Board of Realtors’ website,, or contact the board at 565-0112.

Reach Russell Smyth at or 564-6030.